India’s Essel Group has announced plans for a major world class visitor attraction and hotel and leisure complex to celebrate India’s culture and history as part of the regeneration of the Silvertown district in London.
Led by Dr. Subhash Chandra, Essel Group, an Indian conglomerate with diverse business interests across Media, Entertainment, Packaging, Infrastructure, Education, Precious metals, Finance and Technology, is in talks to take over the redevelopment of the entire 62-acre brownfield site in east London’s Royal Docks. A proposal has been submitted to the Greater London Authority (GLA) to purchase the land from the current developers, The Silvertown Partnership, a consortium consisting of Chelsfield Properties, First Base and Macquarie Capital.
Futuristic computer generated images released today by the Essel Group and HPW Architects show the multi-billion pound cultural centre that would sit on 14 acres at the heart of the Silvertown project under the proposal. Its architects say the centre will provide a ‘cultural landmark’ for London which will ‘defy traditional tall build typologies’ and transform the City skyline. Spanning 2.5 million square feet, the centre would include museums and a theatre, retail outlets, restaurants, a botanical garden and a luxury hotel.
The project could deliver 5,000 jobs in the East End and provide a huge boost to the economy, said the Mumbai-based Essel Group today. The £3.5bn Silvertown redevelopment, which is already underway, will transform a former industrial area in Newham between Canary Wharf and London City airport, and create more than 3,000 homes, including affordable housing. The proposed purchase includes Millennium Mills, a 20th century former flour mill.
A spokesperson for the Essel Group Parul Goel said, “London remains the beating heart of Europe, and the Essel Group is committed to making a huge investment into London to complete the transformation of this part of the city, offering a sustainable and eco-friendly development that meets the requirements of the current planning permission and ensuring this project moves quickly.”
“The Essel Group and our design team have been in detailed discussions with The Silvertown Partnership for many months, all of which has been hugely productive and our proposal has the full support and trust of The Silvertown Partnership. With Brexit looming, this kind of investment into the UK represents a massive coup for the GLA and the London Mayor Sadiq Khan. The cultural centre will be like no other in the world, and we aim to put this part of London back on the map.”
The plans are the culmination of a long-held ambition by Dr Subhash Chandra, the Chairman of Essel Group, to create an educational cultural destination that will showcase the impact and influence of ancient civilisations over 6,000 years. Cultural visitors will start at the top of the centre and work their way through museums, art galleries and interactive experiences highlighting the origins of the Indus and other civilisations to the modern day. The centre will also provide space for mediation, yoga and dance as well as a spa and wedding venue. A conference centre, exhibition facilities and a global news and world class TV production studio are also proposed.
The centre has the potential to help resolve human conflicts of modern times, added Mr Goel. “Dr Chandra is recognised as an ambassador of Indian culture to the rest of the world. His vision is that the basic DNA of the centre will be based the idea that the world is one family. People from different beliefs, religions, countries and regions will be able to use its free and fair environment to hold discussions and arrive at possible solutions to current conflicts,” he said.
If the plans are approved, the Essel Group’s proposed development of Silvertown could see the cultural centre open by 2023, subject to approval by the GLA. A decision is expected this month. Essel will work in partnership with HPW Architects who will lead on design, and Mace, the international construction company behind The Shard.